The St. John’s men’s and women’s track teams took their act to Broadway over the weekend and managed respectable showings in the world-renowned Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden and the Metropolitan Indoor Track Championships.
At the Garden, the women’s squad jumped into the limelight and finished a respectable third during the 4×400-meters. South Carolina, considered one of the top teams in the country, repeated as the winner of the event and Seton Hall finished second. The result, however, helped St. John’s prepare for the competition it faces in the future.
“Anytime you compete against some of the best athletes in the country, you have to step up and get better, competing at the Garden just brings the best in you”, said senior Tiffany Barnes.
The men’s team had a tougher time, finishing fifth in its heat. The lane assignment altered the team’s strategy. Sophomore Abubakar Bangura admitted as much, saying, “Being on lane one affected us a little bit because the inside lane is the toughest, especially indoors. I got banged up a little bit out there but I still think we did okay.”
The length of the track also seemed to be a major issue with both teams. “The track was just too tight. It’s shorter, so there are more turns. But I guess competing at the Garden makes up for the track,” said junior Nicol Corsey, voicing the prevalent opinion of the St. John’s contingent.
Men’s track Head Coach James Hurt said that the experience should help his young team cope with future competitions. “This setting should prepare us for pressure situations. For such a young team I think the exposure to premiere competition is also very important.”
On Jan. 5, the women’s team finished second at the Metropolitan Championships at the 175th Street Armory. The men finished fifth.
Corsey paced the effort by winning the 400 meters (55.20), placing second in the 200 meters (24.78) and third in the long jump (5.58m). She has now qualified for the Big East Championships in all of these events.
Barnes won the 500 meters in 1:13.42, a Big East qualifying time.
For the men, senior Rob Gary qualified for the Big East Championships by finishing seventh in the 60-meter dash with a season-best mark of 7.02. He also finished fourth in the 400-meters.Sophomore Dietrech Washington posted a 1.96 mark in the high jump and is now eligible for a berth in the Big East Championships.
The Red Storm has two more chances to qualify for the Big East Championships. The SJU\Fordham invitational on Feb. 9 and the St. Valentine Invitational at Boston University on Feb. 10 are the last two meets.